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What’s Next for Rudy Gobert and the Utah Jazz?

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According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Utah Jazz players are frustrated with Rudy Gobert and relationships need to be fixed. The Jazz players have stated their frustration with Gobert’s carelessness regarding the coronavirus. Before Gobert’s diagnosis, he went out of his way to touch all of his teammate’s belongings. There was also an interview regarding the coronavirus that took place on March 9th. After the interview, Gobert mockingly touched every microphone in the press room. Donovan Mitchell was the second player on the team diagnosed with coronavirus. Mitchell likely got the virus from Rudy Gobert.

Donovan Mitchell went to Twitter to state that “hopefully people can continue to educate themselves and realize that they need to behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well-being of those around them.” There’s been speculation that this was Donovan Mitchell throwing shade at Rudy Gobert.

There’s a lot of frustration towards Gobert. Team chemistry is very important for team success. If the Utah Jazz players are still frustrated with Gobert, this anger could translate onto the court. Can these relationships be fixed between Rudy Gobert and the rest of the team? If not then what is next for Rudy Gobert and the Utah Jazz organization moving forward?

The Jazz had a record of 41-23 and was the 4th seed in the Western Conference before the season was put on hold. The Jazz had two all-stars this season. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. Rudy was having another defensive player of the year type season. Gobert was averaging 15.1 points, 13.7 rebounds and 2 blocks a game. He was also the defensive anchor for the Jazz and was leading them to the 9th best defense in the NBA. Gobert is very valuable to the Jazz success, but if relationships can’t be repaired, the Utah Jazz could potentially explore moving on from Rudy Gobert.

After this season, Rudy Gobert only has one year left on his contract and will be eligible for a 5-year contract worth $257 million dollars. Due to recent events, it wouldn’t be too unrealistic that the Jazz don’t offer Gobert a supermax contract. They could see this situation as a red flag. If Gobert signed a supermax contract with the Jazz, he would be making an estimated 49 million dollars in the final year of his contract. In the final year of his contract, he would be at the age of 33.

Rudy Gobert’s value and playstyle may not make him worthy enough of earning a supermax contract. Due to Gobert’s lack of offensive versatility and lack to switch onto the perimeter, this makes you question if he’s worth the supermax. Yes, Gobert is an elite defensive player and a two time defensive player of the year winner. The concern is that the supermax contract should be offered to players that can be the best player on a championship team. With today’s style of play, Gobert cannot be your best player on a true championship-contending team.

The Utah Jazz are currently not in an ideal position. The Jazz are good enough to be a top seed in the Western Conference but they are not considered to be true title contenders. The Jazz are trying to contend and win right now. In the offseason they attempted to elevate their team to championship contender status. They traded for Mike Conley, as well as signed Bojan Bogdanovic in the offseason. Bojan has been a great addition to the Utah Jazz, but Mike Conley has been one of the most disappointing players this season. Some thought these moves would put them over the top and be the missing pieces to being true contenders. Sadly, this team isn’t strong enough to compete with the top Western Conference teams like the Lakers and Clippers.

The future of this team is also uncertain. Rudy Gobert has 2 years left on his contract and then could walk in free agency. Mike Conley is 32 years old and has 2 years left on his contract. Bogdanovic will be 34 when his contract expires with the Jazz. The Jazz also don’t have a lot of young pieces to build around moving forward. Obviously the Jazz have Donovan Mitchell who is a 23-year-old all-star who’s still improving each season. Outside of Mitchell, the Jazz don’t have a lot of youth on their roster. The only other young quality players on the Jazz are Emmanuel Mudiay and Tony Bradley.

Mudiay is a former 7th overall pick and is only 24 years old but he hasn’t shown much promise this season. He’s having a career-low year in points, assists and minutes per game. To unlock his potential, Mudiay needs more of an opportunity. He is a free agent after this season and will most likely sign with a different team. A team that can give him more opportunities.

For Tony Bradley, he’s a 22-year-old center who is currently in his third NBA season. This is his first full season with the Jazz. He still has limited playing time and is averaging 4.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in 10.7 minutes per game. Tony Bradley doesn’t have a very high ceiling, but he has the potential to be a good young quality big man. If the Utah Jazz develop Bradley correctly, I can envision him potentially being a just above average starting center in the NBA. If the Utah Jazz franchise sees a lot of potential in Bradley, they could possibly trade Gobert to develop Bradley. I don’t think the Jazz have that much hope in Bradley that they are willing to trade their defensive player of the year center.

Maybe if the Utah Jazz franchise doesn’t believe they can win a championship or if they don’t think the locker room relationships could be repaired, then I don’t think it’s a bad option to trade Gobert if the right offer is on the table. However, if you decide to trade Rudy Gobert then you won’t be getting a player back with a similar talent level. Who would be a potential trade partner in a potential Rudy Gobert trade? What would the Jazz get in return that would be enticing enough for them to agree on? Obviously, the landscape of the league can change really quickly depending on the playoffs, free agency, and the draft but I think a playoff team looking to add a rim protector to help them transition into contenders would be a team that could target Gobert.

The team that makes the most sense would be the Boston Celtics. The Boston Celtics are an amazing defensive team, but they don’t have an elite rim protector and size down low. Gobert would fit in perfect style-wise. The Celtics culture is already heavily based on defense, so Gobert would fit right in. He would also provide a great defensive presence. If the Celtics acquired Gobert, I believe they could be the best defensive team in the league and be a top threat in the Eastern Conference. Gobert would be a perfect fit on and off the court with the Celtics. He fits their culture and I think he could be a good locker room presence.

Hypothetically if the Jazz were going to trade Gobert, what would they want to get back? If Utah decided to move on from Rudy, they would most likely go into a youth movement and try to stock up on draft picks and young assets. If they dealt him, they would most likely trade their other aging players too for young players and picks.

The Celtics would trade Gordon Hayward in the deal. To balance the salaries, Hayward would have to be included in the deal. He has two years left on his deal and would be eligible to enter the 2021 free agency. Once Hayward’s contract is up, they have a variety of options. They could decide if they want to resign him or get rid of his salary to attain more cap flexibility. It makes sense for the Celtics to trade Hayward. The Celtics have plenty of wing and forward depth with Tatum, Brown, and Smart. Hayward is the oldest and least valuable to the Celtics compared to Tatum, Brown, and Smart.

It would also be really exciting to see Hayward back on the Jazz. He was the best player for the Jazz for many years. He was even named an all-star as a member of the Utah Jazz. Hayward would be welcomed back with open arms because he was a fan favorite in Utah. Even if the Jazz don’t have the best team success with Hayward replacing Gobert, Hayward returning to the Jazz would make a lot of fans content.

The Jazz could also get the Celtics 2021 first-round pick in the deal. The Celtics would be at the top of the league with Gobert so they wouldn’t have much need for their draft pick. This would give the Jazz a late first-round draft pick so they can draft and develop a draft prospect.

The Jazz could also acquire one of the Celtics young prospects. Robert Williams would be a likely option. With Gobert, the Celtics would have a log jam at the center position. With their center depth, the Celtics wouldn’t be able to find much playing time for Williams. Williams is 22 years old and has decent potential. You could have Williams and Bradley and develop both of them. The Utah Jazz would have two young centers to make up for the loss of Gobert. Maybe one of the young centers can even turn into a starter quality player.

It is very unlikely that the Utah Jazz trade Rudy Gobert. The only way I can envision them trading Gobert is if he requests a trade. Otherwise, I believe the Jazz are happy with Gobert on their team. Although, it could be possible that the Jazz trade Gobert if they don’t think the relationships can be repaired. If the team wants to acquire assets and have a youth movement built around Donovan Mitchell, then Gobert could be a trade chip. I still believe that relationships can be repaired but if you are uncertain if Gobert will resign or if he requests a trade, then it may be best to trade him for assets before you lose him for nothing.

Thank you!

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